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Chapter 7 Section 1-From Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages

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Thomas Polkki

on 16 December 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 7 Section 1-From Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages

Chapter 7 Section 1-From Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages
The Athenians and other ancient Greeks were Europe's first great philosophers, historians, poets, and writers
One idea the Greeks brought forward was democracy-or a kind of government in which citizens, not a King or ruler, govern themselves
In ancient times, Greece had more than a hundred city-states, or cities with their own governments that were both cities and independent states
One of the most famous democratic Greek city-states was Athens
Every citizen there voted on laws and government policies
Greek democracy was different then what the U.S. has today, most Greeks were not citizens, only freeborn males whose fathers held Athens citizenship were citizens
Women, slaves, freed slaves, non-Greeks, and people whose families came from other parts of Greece were not citizens and not vote
Democracy reached its highest point in Athens from around 479 to 431 B.C., a time period called Athens "Golden Age"
During that period, the arts, literature, and philosophy flourished
The Greeks studied the nature of plants, animals, and the human body
A young man named Alexander, later called Alexander the Great, helped spread the ideas of the Greeks
At age 20, he became King of Macedonia in Northern Greece
In 334 B.C., Alexander set out to conquer the world and within 10 years he had an empire almost equal to the size of the United States
In all the areas he took over, Alexander established Greek cities, the Greek language, and Greek ideas
At the time of his death in 323 B.C., Greek culture linked the entire Mediterranean world
The people who next ruled the region, the Romans, also borrowed much from the Greeks
At its peak, the Roman Empire covered a huge area, and Romans built magnificent cities and structures
About 50,000 miles of hard-surfaced roads linked the cities of the Roman Empire
The Roman system of roads was one of the most outstanding transportation networks every built
The Romans began building their empire soon after the death of Alexander the Great
The first emperor of Rome, Augustus, took control in 27 B.C.
This began the Pax Romana, which means "roman peace"
It lasted for about 200 years, during the Pax Romana, Rome was the most powerful state in Europe and in the Mediterranean
One of Rome's greatest gifts to the world was a system of written laws
Roman lawmakers were careful and organized
They wrote the laws down, seems simple, but not many people did at this time, this legal system is still the basis of almost every European country
Roman laws protected all citizens
At first, citizens included only free people who lived in Rome
In time, the term came to include people all over the empire
Roman laws thus protected the rights of all citizens, not just the powerful and wealthy, modern laws and governments are based on this idea
Roman emperors allowed a certain amount of religious freedom within the empire
Jews were allowed to practice their religion as long as they obeyed Roman law
Many Jews began to revolt against Roman law, in about 30 A.D., a spiritual leader named Jesus of Nazareth traveled and preached throughout the region
His followers believed that god was acting through him and he gained power and influence, the Romans put him to death for trouble making
His followers still spread and preached his beliefs and became known as Christians
The Romans treated the Christians poorly but the religion grew and grew to the point that after 300 years, the Roman emperor, Constantine, became a Christian
He encouraged the spread of Christianity and made it the official religion of the Roman Empire
Over time, it grew more difficult to govern the huge Roman Empire
Germanic invaders outside the empire grew strong and broke through Roman lines of defense
To fight the invaders, the empire needed more and more soldiers
The government raised taxes to pay for the warfare
This hurt the empire's economy, the empire grew too large for one person to control, so it was divided into two empires, one in the eastern Mediterranean and one in the West
The Eastern one remained strong, but the Western one got worse and in the 450's, invaders attacked Rome and the Western Roman Empire collapsed in A.D. 476
The collapse of the Roman Empire in western Europe led to a time of uncertainty and confusion
The people were no longer protected, but the invading peoples gradually settled down and established kingdoms
Europe entered a long period of turmoil and warfare
The Roman Catholic Church eventually becomes the most powerful entity in Europe
The people of western Europe established a political system called feudalism-or a system in which land was owned by kings or lords, but held by vassals in return for their loyalty
In each country, the King held the highest position
The King needed soldiers and money to defend his country, people named nobles gave the King money and soldiers in exchange for land, nobles were also called Vassals
The noble landowner needed people to work the land, they gave peasants the right to farm their land in exchange for a larger portion of the crops, housing, and protection
In exchange, they maintained order, enforced laws, and protected the peasants
This economic system is called manorialism
The peasants who worked the land were called serfs, they were not free people, they were bound to land and could not leave without permission, they were not slaves as they could not be sold away
The Roman Catholic Church had huge importance and this does not change until around the 13 and 14 hundreds
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